Monday, January 2, 2012

Raw Food for the New Year

Happy New Year!!

It's 2012. I can't even believe it. Time really flies, no?

So, I'm right on schedule with another post. Yay me! This time, I want to talk about raw food. Last year, I got on this raw food kick and spent about a month trying to create elaborate raw food meals and snacks. I bought a fancy-pants Excalibur dehydrator (which rocks, by the way) and a couple raw "cook"books. And suddenly, I realized that I missed cooked foods - and I wasn't having very good results with my creations. So I gave up and moved on to another way of eating. 
Since that time, I've tried sugar-free, low carb, high protein, Weight Watchers, Nutrasystem and several other things to lose a few pounds here and there. They all work, and then I jump on another band-wagon and either maintain or gain more pounds. (sigh) I just can't find a happy medium because I love carbs and sugar - even though I know, first hand, that those things are the enemy for me and my body! (disclaimer: not all carbs, just the carby-carbs like white stuff, pasta, bread, processed junk, etc)
We just came back from a week in California, and while there, I was able to have lunch at a raw food restaurant. I fell in love with raw food all over again! Prepared properly, it's freaking AMAZING! So today's post isn't as much about my weight loss goals/struggles, as it is about adding in more whole, real, raw foods to your diet. Believe me, it's tricky sometimes - and I'm no expert. But I think everyone can benefit from eating more raw, vegan cuisine...and maybe these photos will inspire you, like it does for me, to try and get a little creative with your raw goodies. Here we go....
My sister, her husband, my 7 year old (with a dairy allergy), my husband and I all went to Cru in Silverlake, California.It's a small place, almost hidden, but SO worth a trip. It's not cheap, but then again, neither is good organic produce and raw nuts. So I guess I expected to pay more than I usually would for lunch. Plus, it was SO filling and delicious. Totally worth it - and I just wish there were a raw restaurant closer to me!

(another disclaimer: blogger is weird with photo placement, so forgive it they seem all random) 
We started with an appetizer for the table of the bruschetta. Remember, everything here is vegan and raw (although the chorizo on my taco salad may have been cooked, I'm not quite sure...but still vegan for sure). It was so awesome to give the menu, including the dessert menu, to my daughter and say "you can get ANYTHING on this menu - anything you want! Because there is no dairy in a vegan diet, she was able to pick and choose. I think she was kinda confused by it actually, because she kept asking before bites "are you sure I can have this??". So fun!

This is the bruschetta. OMG. Fantastic. Fresh and flavorful! It had tomato, capers, basil, cashew cheese and some kind of flatbread made of (I think) squash and sunflower seeds. To Die!
Oh, and before that, my daughter and I shared the fresh basil limeade. Yum!! 
I wasn't sure if my daughter would like the food - she claims to not like nuts of any kind, and also doesn't usually like coconut (both things are somewhat of a staple in raw food dishes). So, we shared the taco salad. Well, guess who ate most of it?!?! She did! Again, no complaints - this was by far the best taco salad ever. The "lettuce" was massaged kale, pumpkin seed chorizo (I need a recipe for this!!), guacamole, cashew sour cream and these crispy/chewy corn and flax chips. I'm drooling right now.
We finished the meal with two desserts to share - chocolate pie with raspberries and a key lime pie. Again, I remind you, NO DAIRY in any of these things. I didn't miss it at all. The big hit at the table for the 7 year old was, shockingly, the key lime pie. Again, I'm going to need a recipe for this one!

If you're ever in Los Angeles, you MUST try Cru. And if not, maybe you'll be a bit inspired to try out some raw recipes on your own. Google raw food recipes and I'm sure you'll be able to find something interesting. 

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